Dahl pleads guilty in drunk-driving death

Stettler man receives two-year jail term in connection with 2012 fatality

  • Sep. 11, 2013 5:00 p.m.

The 21-year-old Stettler man charged after a teenaged girl died in a 2012 impaired-driving crash near Stettler has been sentenced to two years in prison.

Trevor James Dahl pleaded guilty to being over the legal limit of 0.08 while driving causing death and to a breach of his recognizance in relation to the first charge in Red Deer provincial court last Thursday.

Judge Gordon Deck handed down the two-year jail term, which is followed by a three-year driving prohibition.

Koralea Boettger, then 17, was killed in the crash. She was a Grade 12 student at William E. Hay Composite High School.

Her mother, Janel Boettger, said in her victim impact statement that the debt Dahl will have to pay would amount to little for those who suffered.

“We are all too used to a year or two in sentencing for DUI causing death,” Boettger said outside the courtroom.

“Canadians need to tell the government that we want life to matter.”

Court was told Dahl had been drinking at a party in Erskine on Feb. 11, 2012. In a two-hour timeframe, he had consumed three beer and three whiskey drinks. In a joint submission, Crown attorney Wayne Silliker and defence lawyer Andrew Fong said Dahl was going to leave the party and that Koralea Boettger asked for a ride.

At about 1:30 a.m. on Feb. 11 police were called to a collision on a rural road near Erskine. Police said a truck had left the road and gone into a stand of trees. Boettger, who police said wasn’t wearing a seatbelt at the time, was ejected from the vehicle. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

An RCMP collision analyst said the car drifted into the opposite lane and gradually drove off the road and into the trees.

The defence said Dahl had hit a patch of ice and didn’t want to jam on the brakes and flip the truck.

Police interviewed and arrested Dahl at the scene and demanded a blood sample. When Dahl didn’t provide a sample, police waited until he left the hospital and obtained a sample. Through retroactive sampling, it was determined that when Dahl was driving, he had a blood-alcohol content of 0.136.

Six victim impact statements were read in court, including submissions from Koralea’s father, Allistair Stewart, as well as grandparents and other relatives.

“Somebody needs to set a precedent for someone’s ill-advised decisions on a sentencing,” Stewart said. “Impaired driving causing death is murder.”

— Black Press

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